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NYSNA-Represented Nurses 'Demand' The Westchester Medical Center Provide Safe Staffing & A Fair Contract

Published Sunday, September 18, 2022
by NYSNA News
NYSNA-Represented Nurses 'Demand' The Westchester Medical Center Provide Safe Staffing & A Fair Contract

(VALHALLA, NEW YORK) –  More than 100 Members of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) - who are employed at Westchester Medical Center, rallied in front of the medical facility in order to call attention to unsafe working conditions there as a result of understaffingIn addition, NYSNA Nurses highlighted the need for a fair contract with fair and competitive wages, a real plan to recruit and retain Nurses and improved patient care through safe staffing. 

While Westchester Medical Center Nurses provide public and life-saving care to a six-county area, they say the Westchester Medical Center is not retaining Front Line Nurses.  NYSNA says the hospital loses more than 20 Nurses a month and has failed to hire enough Nurses to fill vacant positions to meet patients’ needs. 

“Our Nurses are challenged daily to deliver safe patient care with short staffing,” local NYSNA Bargaining Unit President David Long, a Registered Nurse himself, said. “Our Medical-Surgical Nurses are taking assignments of as many as seven or eight patients with little or no support Staff.  Unfortunately, many Nurses are leaving because they are being overworked.  We are losing more than twenty nurses monthly due to resignations and early retirements.  We currently have nearly one-hundred vacant nursing positions.” 

Nurses sounded the alarm on poor staffing conditions and about Westchester Medical Center administration’s refusal to put the Safe Staffing Ratios they negotiated as part of New York’s State’s Hospital Staffing Law into the Nurses’ Union contract.

The rally came after nearly a year of negotiations between NYSNA Nurses and management at Westchester Medical Center. 

Local Bargaining Unit Second Vice President and Registered Nurse Mary Lynn Boyts said: “They refuse to put negotiated and agreed upon safe Nurse-to-Patient Ratios in our contract because it will hold them accountable.  Now they are refusing to negotiate a modest salary increase that will help recruit and retain Nurses needed to be compliant with New York’s Staffing Laws.” 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Westchester Medical Center Nurses working on the front lines have been understaffed and under-resourced, Union Officials said, adding that they have not received COVID-19 Bonus Pay - unlike Health Care Workers at many other hospitals.

However, since the COVID-19 Pandemic began, Westchester Medical Center Health Network CEO Michael Israel increased his total compensation by 33.5%, NYSNA said.  In 2021, Israel made $3.4 million in total compensation, making the CEO of this public hospital among one of the highest paid hospital executives in New York State, the Union added.

Nurses at Westchester Medical Center also join the more than 30,000 NYSNA Members who will be bargaining contracts for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

NYSNA Nurses are bargaining for improved patient care, including safer staffing levels and better pay and working conditions to recruit and retain Nurses. 

NYSNA - New York State’s largest Union and Professional Association for Registered Nurses, represents more than 42,000 Members across the State.

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